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Archive for December 9th, 2020

Judge Dismisses Flynn’s Case, But Was Not Happy About It

Former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn

By Steve Neavling

A federal judge on Tuesday dismissed the three-year-old criminal case against Michael Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser, following  Trump’s pardon last month. 

But U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan took a parting shot, saying the pardon doesn’t make Flynn innocent, The Washington Post reports.

“President Trump’s decision to pardon Mr. Flynn is a political decision, not a legal one,” Sullivan wrote. “Because the law recognizes the President’s political power to pardon, the appropriate course is to dismiss this case as moot.”

“However,” Sullivan added, “the pardon ‘does not, standing alone, render [Flynn] innocent of the alleged violation.’ ”

Flynn was the target of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Flynn pleaded guilty in December 2017 to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia. But he later fired his attorneys and asked to withdraw his guilty plea, claiming he was entrapped by the FBI and Justice Department.

Sullivan also said he “likely” would have rejected the Justice Department’s efforts to dismiss the case, saying the federal government’s intervention was “dubious to say the least.”

Trump celebrated the dismissal on Twitter. 

“Thank you and congratulations to General Flynn,” Trump tweeted. “He and his incredible family have suffered greatly!”

Flynn responded, “You and your family & our entire nation have suffered greatly and it has to stop. The American people deserve far greater respect from the institutions of our own Government and the Media!”

Jones, Garland Emerge As Biden’s Top Picks for Attorney General

Alabama Sen. Doug Jones.

By Steve Neavling

President-elect Joe Biden appears to have two leading contenders for attorney general: Alabama Sen. Doug Jones and federal appeals court judge Merrick Garland, The Associated Press reports, citing three people familiar with the matter.

But sources have emphasized that no final decision has been made, and the top picks could change. Sally Gates ,the former deputy attorney general, was long believed to be a top potential pick. 

Jones, who was defeated in the November election, has emerged as the top choice, according to NBC News.

President Clinton appointed Jones in 1997 to serve as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama. He emerged as champion for civil rights, successfully prosecuting two former KKK members for a 1963 bombing that killed four Black girls at a church in Birmingham. 

Judge Merrick Garland of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

His relationship with Biden dates back to at least 1998, when he helped Biden on his first presidential campaign in 1998. 

Garland, whom Obama nominated to fill a vacant U.S. Supreme Court seat in 2016, served as special assistant to Attorney General Benjamin Civiletti during the Carter administration from 1979 to 1981. Garland became U.S. attorney general in Washington D.C. in 1989 and then deputy assistant attorney general in the Criminal Division of the Justice Department in 1993. 

In 1997, the Senate confirmed Garland’s nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. In 2013, he became the chief judge of the D.C. Circuit.